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Subject: "Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Nikki

26-01-01, 12:42 PM (GMT)
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"Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts"
 
   I was reading some posts from a while back, and a few sentences struck me, especially Eugene Merrett's sentence refering to the trivialisation of our society, where the so called traditonal arts like ballet, opera, classical music are being side lined and where one especially youths have more choice than ever before. It could be argued, how could traditonal arts ever compete w/ the 20second brain span that todays teenagers,even the twentysomethings have. I read an article once that the average time people spend looking at a painting is 30-40 seconds, which sadens me as a painting deserves more than that. But this is a prime example of how in todays culture no body seems to have the time to think, delieberate and explore subjects. There are numerious articles around that try to explain the shift in culture these days, I cite the recent one found in the Telegraph were the journalist tries to examine the change in audiences.

Okay.. I could go on and on about the disentegration of the arts etc etc etc...but what I realized was that Im no special teenager, Im no prodigy, Im not a ballet or dance student, I’m not a particulary immune to todays youth culture, the dress, emphasis on style over substance…. Im just so acuelty aware of the absence of youth from normal ballet performances, I mean just normal teenagers,

My friends laugh at me when they found out that I love ballet, now they are ripping the piss out of me when they discovered that I post at ballet.co! Yeah its funny, that Im totally in awe of ballet, but discussing it w/ another friend yesterday, trying to defend and answer her question of ‘Why do you like ballet?’ It really was’nt a very serious conversation, but it pushed me to think of why know all of a sudden, I buy ballet times instead of ‘the face’ want to take tours of the ROH instead of go shopping in covent garden. It kinda scares me….if I could personify ballet…its like it came from nowhere and now occupies a lot of my time. I spend hours looking up things on the internet, reading up about ballet….why? Im writing this stupid ramblings…and the scarist thing was that I thought that this was a passing phase, but the more I read, the more I know, the more I attend performances, the more my love and undestanding of ballet increases. Its like when one looks at a painting (my other love) for instance a cubist work, it looks like a mess, but if one studies around it and looks at it more, the inherent philosophy and meaning of it comes out.

I did’nt sit here to write an essay, my school gives me many of them to write, and I could do them now…but no Im sitting here just typing the thoughts that come to head, determined to come to a faint conclusion on why I love ballet? Yeah I used to enjoy going to ballet, I did’nt hate it…but I never loved it. As many of you know about my comments on dancers body, Im an opinionated person…. I felt really bad and sorry on what I said about Nunez...it was out of order and wanted to edit them out….but I did’nt because I wanted to remind myself that I actually said that…… ....It seems stupid that Im so harsh on dancers but when one of my friends became anneroxic….I had to do the hardest things I ever did when I told her parents…now she’s in a clinic and wont talk to me ever. Hopefully in the future she will be able to see that I ratted on her because I loved her and wanted the best for her…okay how did I get on this thread….well anyway….ummm….should I post this?

Why did I write this in the first place….because I want to find out why ballet has started to become not just an obsession but has influenced other spheres my interests….I have always liked the fine arts…but going to the ballet…researching it…..reading around it….made me aware of the situation that we as a society are in…..I think maybe ballet could be an example of where we are…...…..well the situation of the Royal Ballet....…we have to balance the past glories w/ new innovations....….stop globaliztion and the death of diversity...….be aware of the multidude of people out there etc etc etc etc.

On a final note I ask you all if you were a wealthy donar like Villar.....…would you donate funds to the fine arts…or help the third world countries? I had to take part in a debate at school…..which was ‘The House says ‘All Art is a waste of money’ I think people always need Art, its ingrained in us. But the arts In my opinion should always be open to everyone.....and I believe the most important thing that the arts like ballet can provide people is to educate their emotions..….well that what it does to me.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts Jim 26-01-01 1
  RE: Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts Jim 26-01-01 2
     RE: Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts Richard J 26-01-01 3
         RE: Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts Nikki 29-01-01 4
             RE: Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts Jim 29-01-01 5
                 RE: Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts Nikki 29-01-01 6
                     RE: Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts Patricia 30-01-01 7

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Jim

26-01-01, 01:11 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts"
In response to message #0
 
   LAST EDITED ON 26-01-01 AT 01:29 PM (GMT)

>okay how did I get on this thread….well
>anyway….ummm….should I post this?

Well, I (for one) am so glad you decided to post it Nikki. I am towards the other end of life's spectrum (I saw my first ballet in 1959) but nevertheless you have written much that I can reflect on. I think I will have to reply in chunks over the next few days, and I really hope others will too.


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Jim

26-01-01, 06:13 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts"
In response to message #0
 
   Hmmmm. Where to start? Maybe firstly that I wonder if your appreciation of the numbers of youngsters going to the ballet could be misrepresented by where you are? Living in the Midlands, I see a number of performances by companies like Northern Ballet Theatre and I would say that there are more youngsters go to that than at Covent Garden, and I don't just mean little girls in party frocks.

>determined to come to a faint conclusion on why I love
>ballet?

That is of course a very personal thing, and everybody might give a different answer. It's what we call a "personal value judgement": you have assigned a value to your love of ballet, and nobody can dispute it, because it's yours as much as your hair is. As a scientist, I'm not really qualified to talk about the philosophical aspects of art, but one definition of art I have heard is that it "takes you out of yourself". In other words, it enables to to appreciate feelings without necessarily having experienced them in life yourself. Dickens' novels allows you to get a real sensation of what it must have been like to live in the squalor of London at that time, even though you can never repeat it. The same with some of Turner's paintings (my personal favourites). To take a personal (and I hope not too corny) example, I, like you, got hooked on ballet when I was a teenager, and after seeing Swan Lake for the first time I could appreciate how it must feel to be in love and what sacrifies it might involve (not being able to claim the experience first hand at the time). The artistes conveyed to me feelings I had not experienced myself and I sort of felt then that I'd recognise it if it ever came my way. There are lots of other examples you can come accross. I've never personally witnessed violence towards women, but some of MacMillan's works can convey the horror of it. My father never beat my sister, but you can sense the outrage when you see Romeo and Juliet. How does it feel to be deceived by a lover? You might learn something from Giselle. These are all small examples but for me it is part of why ballet (and the arts in general) mean so much.

If I were you, I shouldn't lose any sleep wondering why you feel passionately about it - fall asleep with the images in your mind and just be grateful that you have found a passion which will last you a lifetime.

And as for your scornful friends - hey, just treat them with the contempt they deserve. Or pity them. Or better still, try to convert them

I will return to your "art is a waste of money" point later - I feel strongly about that too! But I'm hungry now and need my dinner!



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Richard J

26-01-01, 09:45 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts"
In response to message #2
 
   Nikki - like Jim, I'm so glad you did go ahead with your brave and heart-warming post; brave because you were so honest (and on a public forum - that's difficult), and heart-warming because of the way in which you write about the importance of the arts.

You've obviously discovered some of the essential values of ballet even though you are not personally involved in it as a participant. By contrast, there are many of your age who are technically very accomplished in various branches of the performing arts without yet fully appreciating the deeper values of the activity in which they are involved. Perhaps you should give dance a whirl; you'll learn even more about it from the inside!

As a teacher and parent (I teach music, and my sons have now passed through their teenage years) I know that youth culture and traditional forms of sophisticated 'high art' can easily co-exist; it doesn't have to be 'either/or'. You've obviously discovered this; it's your peers who are the losers. (It's also fun to trace cross-overs between cultural worlds; look at the films of Broadway Musicals and see the strong balletic influence in the choreography, for instance. The links between ballet and Broadway are fascinating to trace).

Obviously I could write reams on this, having been involved in the performing arts with young people for over 30 years. What I will say is that those who dig below the surface in any art form find that it tells us a great deal about ourselves, and the society in which we live, as you have begun to realise.

Unfortunately we live in an age when mainstream artistic ventures seem to want to play safe - there is a lack of adventure (just read some of the ballet.co posts to know about this). It's connected with funding of course, but it also seems to be in tune with the times, unfortunately. As you will know, we have to assess and quantify everything these days; the bureaucrats in education (and elsewhere) seem to be keen that we should audit our lives! In 1854, Charles Dickens (in 'Hard Times') showed up the tendency of his age to concentrate only on teaching young children facts to be as stultifying as it was; imagination was squeezed out. There is justification for saying that some people in high places have forgotten Dickens, and we all suffer because of it.

We all need fantasy, and we all need to explore. As T.S. Eliot wrote about the human experience in 'The Four Quartets' :

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time".

When you really get into the work of the greatest choreographers, you realise how much exploration is represented.

Nature, they say, abhors a vacuum, and this is true of the arts as well; if the fine arts are not in good shape, flash trash will fill the void.

So keep exploring, and keep posting, and when you can't explain why you feel what you do in a quantifiable way, remember the poet e.e. cummings, who seemed to be able to sum up a vigorous attitude to life:

"While you and I have lips and voices which
Are for kissing and to sing with
Who cares if some one-eyed sonovabitch
Invents an instrument to measure spring with".


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Nikki

29-01-01, 05:49 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts"
In response to message #3
 
   Thank you all for your comments, I agree that it is possible that so called 'high art' and normal activites can exist hand in hand. I'll come back to add more on this..as usal these days I feel so exhausted!(after a 4hr juant around the national gallery!) This needs some more deliberation

-Nikki


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Jim

29-01-01, 06:00 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts"
In response to message #4
 
   >as usual these days I feel so exhausted!(after a
>4hr juant around the national gallery!)

Hey, I hope you're not missing too many lectures


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Nikki

29-01-01, 06:07 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts"
In response to message #5
 
   Jim actually I've missed a few history of art lectures cos i was a bit ill...so im a bit behind! also got to some project on a painter called 'mantuea' so i went to the NT to reserach him...soooooo tired the gallery is just to big!! i just want to sit down and watch dawsons creek (some great escapist tv!)


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Patricia

30-01-01, 00:33 AM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Why do I love Ballet? -Some ramblings and thoughts"
In response to message #6
 
   Nikki...it`s lovely to hear your enthusiasm for ballet, I have
only been a real fan for about 10 years and get such pleasure
from it. Discovering this website has been a joy and I feel I`m
learning such a lot.I`m sure your love of ballet will be
something that will stay with you all your life.


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